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A question about the Stanford Lectures on Fourier Transforms

  1. May 20, 2009 #1
    I told one of my friends about the Stanford OCW and he found the "Lectures on Fourier Transforms for Electrical Engineers".


    Since it is summer time, he said he might spend time looking through that stuff. The question is if it will be useful for him or not as he wants to be a physicist and is currently doing a BSc in Physics. So what do you think? Will learning about the Fourier Transform how Electrical Engineers learn it help somewhere along the line? Is it any different from how physicists would learn about it?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2009 #2
    Okay. Actually I might also be interested in viewing these. I haven't chosen a major yet but I am either going to pick mathematics or physics. I would be inclined towards watching these lectures if it would be help me in either of these fields in college.
  4. May 21, 2009 #3
    Fourier transforms are definitely extremely important for physicists, as well as engineers and mathematicians. The electrical engineers might teach it a little bit differently but basically it's going to be the same as you would see it in a math course or in a physics course.

    Whether or not it is the MOST important thing to study over the summer, or the best way to spend your time, is a whole another ball game. It just depends on what else you know and what courses you have coming up. Fourier transforms and fourier series are relatively advanced, so at the high school level, it probably makes more sense to focus on mastering some of the more basic subjects first (such as calculus). But it definitely wouldn't hurt to look at it.
  5. May 21, 2009 #4
    I agree with the sentiments here, and particularly ecco what mordechai9 has said in the second part of the post. Fourier transforms are massively important, but I'd only consider confronting it if you're already hugely comfortable with everything you've been introduced to in school thusfar. There's no point in pressing ahead to things that are 'important' if you haven't mastered the basics.

    That said, when you do get introduced to Fourier transforms more formally in school, make sure you understand what's going on! I guess this can be said about anything that you're taught, but Fourier transform talk resonates with me in particular because I dealt with them in math for a while, and in various physics courses before I realised that I could use them and I got the 'idea + reasoning' but for whatever reason I just wasn't fully comfortable with it. As you progress through a physics degree, there will be certain things that just keep coming up all over the place, in courses of all different kinds - Fourier transforms is one of these things. Them and wave equations.. it's actually rather remarkable and is one of the reasons I love physics.
  6. May 21, 2009 #5
    Okay, thanks guys. I am already proficient with calculus to a certain level. I learnt from a book called Tom M. Apostol [ Single Variable Calculus - Volume 1 ]. I also learnt quite a bit of multivariable calculus and differential equations from MIT OCW 18.02 and 18.03 and Mary L. Boas [ Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences ]. I am currently learning Linear Algebra from a book called Kenneth Hoffman and Ray Kunze [ Linear Algebra - edition 2], a copy of which I got hold of. Learning Linear Algebra is my priority this summer. However, this looked interesting and I thought I'd look into it. I just wanted to know if anything was different in an engineer's perspective and if these lectures would be useful in that sense. Anyway, thank you again for your comments. Nonetheless, further information will be appreciated.
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